Written by Norene Anderson
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A Holter monitor is not a welcome bed partner, but it is the method of choice to observe the arrrhythmias that do not show on a short, resting ECG. Quite often, irregularities of the heart are so irregular they do not manifest during the brief time an ECG is done in the doctor's office. A Holter monitor is a 24-hour ECG machine. The leads are attached around the heart in the same way an ECG reading is set up.

The Holter monitor is about the size of a small cassette player. It can be clipped to a shirt pocket or supported with a strap around the neck. It is not too much of a nuisance during the daytime. It can be a different story during bedtime. It requires attention during the night if any symptoms are experienced. A diary must be kept outlining the time indicated on the recorder and the type of symptoms.

Information Retrieved from Holter Monitors

It is important to note every time symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, palpitations, or anything related to cardiac function are observed. The tape is scanned for unusual events, but it is scrutinized carefully around the time noted for symptoms being experienced. An inaccurate diary or a lack of information will inhibit the effectiveness of wearing the Holter monitor.

Technology has advanced from the traditional Holter monitor to include the ability to send the information via the telephone to a physician for immediate response. This is important for individuals experiencing possible life-threatening cardiac events. Early diagnosis is the best preventive care for any type of heart disease. If you have any of the classic signs such as tightness in the chest, radiating pain down the arm or up into the jaw, shortness of breath on exertion, or frequent feelings of indigestion or nausea, see your healthcare provider immediately.

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